Truth About Vaccines

EPI 21: Truth About Vaccines

August 23, 2019


In this episode, we will talk about Iridology the study of the iris, iridology. How it can supposedly predict certain diseases. We will also talk about vaccinations; how they work, different types, 4 misconceptions, and we will break down the flu vaccine.


iridology is a pseudoscience, it is not based on the scientific method so viewer discretion is advised. It’s something we’ve heard about recently.

It an alternative medicine technique whose proponents claim that patterns, colors, and other characteristics of the iris can be examined to determine information about a patient's systemic health. Practitioners match their observations to iris charts, which divide the iris into zones that correspond to specific parts of the human body. Iridologists see the eyes as "windows" into the body's state of health.

Iridologist proposed that they can figure out which organs may be diseased and in general use it as a diagnostic tool. 

Is this legit? Can you tell what organ is giving me issues or what diseases I am at risk for based on my Iris?


In 2015 the Australian Government's Department of Health published the results of a review of alternative therapies that sought to determine if any were suitable for being covered by health insurance. Iridology was one of 17 therapies evaluated for which no clear evidence of effectiveness was found.

A 2005 study tested the usefulness of iridology in diagnosing common forms of cancer. An experienced iridology practitioner examined the eyes of 110 total subjects, of which 68 people had proven cancers of the breast, ovary, uterus, prostate, colorectal, and 42 for whom there was no medical evidence of cancer. Iridology showed no value.




What is the immune system?

The immune system is the body's defense against infectious organisms and other invaders. Most of the time, it’s an efficient system. It either keeps microorganisms out or tracks them down to get rid of them. 

However, some pathogens can overwhelm the immune system. When this happens, it can cause serious illness. 

The pathogens that go unnoticed by our immune system are the ones that most likely to cause problems. The role of vaccinations is essentially a way to “teach” our immune system how to recognize certain pathogens and eliminate them. So after the vaccination, our body is prepared if you’re ever exposed. 

Vaccinations have allowed us to control diseases that once threatened many lives such as measles, polio, tetanus, whooping cough. 

It's important to understand that vaccination not only protects one individual. When enough people are vaccinated it helps protect society.


How does a vaccine work?

So we now know that we have to train our immune system to recognize a threat. Our system those this by certain molecules from the pathogen which must be introduced into the body to trigger an immune response.

These molecules are called antigens, and they are present on all viruses and bacteria. By injecting these antigens into the body, the immune system can safely learn to recognize them as hostile invaders, produce antibodies, and remember them for the future. If the bacteria or virus reappears, the immune system will recognize the antigens immediately and attack aggressively well before the pathogen can spread and cause sickness.

The herd immunity phenomenon 

We know that vaccines don’t only work on individuals but rather society as a whole. Once enough people are immunized, opportunities for an outbreak of disease become so low even people who aren't immunized benefit. Essentially, a bacteria or virus simply won't have enough eligible hosts to establish a foothold and will eventually die out entirely. This phenomenon is called "herd immunity" or "community immunity," and it has allowed once-devastating diseases to be eliminated entirely, without needing to vaccinate every individual.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) Each year, about 85 percent of the world’s children receive vaccines that protect them against tuberculosis, polio, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, and measles. These vaccines save about 2.5 million lives.

Despite this success, more than 3 million people die from vaccine-preventable diseases each year.

4 Types of Vaccines

1. Live-attenuated vaccines
    • Use a weakened or inactive for of germ. They create a strong long-lasting immune response because they are so similar to the natural infection. Can offer a lifetime of protection.
    • Limitations: They contain a small amount of of the weakened virus so consult your doctor prior. May affect people with weakened immune systems, long term health problems, or individuals who have gotten a transplant.
    • MMR, Rotavirus, Smallpox, Chickenpox, Yellow Fever
    2. Inactivated Vaccine
    • Use the dead version of the germ
    • Not as strong as live vaccines and may need boosters over time.
    • Hepatitis A, Flu, Polio, Rabies
    3. Subunit, Recombinant, Polysaccharide, and Conjugate Vaccines
    • Use a specific piece of the germ; like its protein, sugar, or capsid.
    • They give a strong immune response because we are targeting a key and specific part of the germ.
    • Can be given to individuals with a weakened immune system.
    • May need boosters for ongoing protection
    • Hib disease, Hepatitis B, HPV, Whooping cough (part of the DTaP), Pneumococcal, Meningococcal, Shingles
    4. Toxoid Vaccines
    • Uses a toxin made by the germ. It creates immunity to the part s of the germ that causes disease instead of the whole germ.
    • May need boosters.
    • Diphtheria, tetanus (both part of DTap)

    What do anti-vaxxers believe? 4 misconceptions 

    1. MMR Vaccine causes autism

    • Most anti-vaccination believers claim that the compound Thimerosal led to an increase in autism cases. The Measles/Mumps/Rubella vaccine is their usual target. However, Thimerosal was never used as a preservative in the Measles/Mumps/Rubella vaccine. No vaccine licensed since 1999 has contained Thimerosal as a preservative, except a few multi-dose container vaccines such as some (but not all) HIB and Influenza vaccines. Autism has not declined since 1999, thereby disproving this connection.
    • However, this has not stopped anti-vaccination believers from claiming that it was the MMR vaccine itself that caused autism or that it was vaccines in general that caused autism. All of these ideas have been disproven in multiple scientific and legal examinations of the evidence. The primary scientific reason for the increase in autism diagnoses is due to more disorders being included in the Autism Spectrum and doctors getting better at diagnosing the characteristics of autism.
    2. Infants immune system can't handle all the vaccines
    • Infant immune systems are stronger than you might think. Based on the number of antibodies present in the blood, a baby would theoretically have the ability to respond to around 10,000 vaccines at one time. Even if all 14 scheduled vaccines were given at once, it would only use up slightly more than 0.1% of a baby's immune capacity. And scientists believe this capacity is purely theoretical. The immune system could never truly be overwhelmed because the cells in the system are constantly being replenished. In reality, babies are exposed to countless bacteria and viruses every day, and immunizations are negligible in comparison.
    3. Natural immunity is better
    • In some cases, natural immunity — meaning actually catching a disease and getting sick– results in a stronger immunity to the disease than a vaccination. However, the dangers of this approach far outweigh the relative benefits. If you wanted to gain immunity to measles, for example, by contracting the disease, you would face a 1 in 500 chance of death from your symptoms. In contrast, the number of people who have had severe allergic reactions from an MMR vaccine is less than one-in-one million.
    4. Vaccines contain unsafe toxins
    • People have concerns over the use of formaldehyde, mercury or aluminum in vaccines. It's true that these chemicals are toxic to the human body in certain levels, but only trace amounts of these chemicals are used in FDA approved vaccines. In fact, according to the FDA and the CDC, formaldehyde is produced at higher rates by our own metabolic systems and there is no scientific evidence that the low levels of this chemical, mercury or aluminum in vaccines can be harmful. See section III of this guide to review safety information about these chemicals and how they are used in vaccines.

    What is a flu shot made up of and why?

    Influenza virus
      • Tiny amounts of the virus which triggers the body’s immune response to produce antibodies to fight them off. 
      • Flu shot may vary every year and contains a few different variations of influenza.
      • Toxic in lethal doses, however, our body produces more metabolically through our digestive system than the amount in the vaccine.
      • Its role is to inactivate toxins, bacteria, or viruses that may have contaminated the vaccine during production.
      Aluminum Salts
      • Not always present, some flu shots are aluminum-free.
      • Help the body develop a stronger immune response. Allows the vaccine to contain smaller amounts of influenza.
      • Many people thought that there was a link between thimerosal and autism, this has been proven false.
      • It is only in multi-use vials and reduces the growth of bacteria and fungi in the vials.
      Chicken Egg Protein
      • Proteins from chicken eggs help the virus grow before they go into vaccines.
      • The influenza virus grows inside a fertilized chicken egg.
      • Those with egg allergies should inform their doctor prior to vaccination.
      • It is a stabilizer that protects the vaccine from the damaging effects of heat or freeze-drying.
      • Used to prevent the vaccine from growing bacteria.
      • Some of the antibiotics used are gentamicin or neomycin.

      Flu vaccines are effective in lowering the risk of infection by 40 to 60 percent in people who get the shot. That may sound low, but keep in mind the flu vaccine is designed to match the strain of the flu scientists expect to be most abundant in the coming flu season.




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